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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Student Spotlight: Ken Kliesner


By Ann Abbott

----Update----I recently received this message from Ken: "I have still been working at Beam Suntory, racking up the international and government relations experience.  I'm happy to say I've won a a company-wide award (Rookie of the Year) and been promoted to Latin America Lead in our Global Supply Chain team." ----

I know I sound like a broken record, but it's true: I love hearing from my former students! 

Sometimes they contact me because they are thinking about their professional path. Sometimes they need a letter of recommendation (and I am happy to support them long after college). Sometimes they friend me on Facebook (I like following their personal and professional adventures on Facebook). But whatever the motivation or method, it's a real joy to see someone move forward and develop.

Ken was a great student last year in my course on social entrepreneurship. I've written about him on this blog before. And it was so nice to have a message from him the other day. I asked if I could share, and he said yes: 
In preparation for our meetings, we would appreciate your giving thought to the following questions:
Hope you are doing well!  Just wanted to give you an update on my life.

So the Fulbright didn't work out, I got to the last round and I ended up not getting it, but I will definitely be applying again next year!  In the last 6 weeks, I got a contractor job at Beam Suntory headquarters (the Jim Beam company) working in International Supply Chain management.  I mostly work with Latin American and Canadian clients, so I get to use my Spanish, and even Portuguese almost every day!  I'm also still applying to NGOs and international organizations, but this is a good way to get experience in the mean time.
I'm so happy for Ken's success. The funny thing is that his message came to me just as I am in the middle of writing a manuscript about the dangers of being too specific in our approaches to Languages for Specific Purposes in university programs. Students really can't be sure what kind of job they will have in the near future, and even in the long term. I can tell you for sure that while Ken was sitting in my social entrepreneurship class, he wasn't asking himself how he could apply this to his future job in logistics. I don't know if Ken even knew about logistics.

So, it was good to have that confirmation that what I'm saying about "less specific purposes" has merit from recent alums' viewpoints. (When I am back home and at a computer, I'll add a link to my slides from the LSP conference last month that talk about these issues.) I also asked Ken if he had any advice for current students. He did, and it is such good advice. I hope everyone will read it. On the one hand, it's an invitation to think about the kind of specific job Ken has now as a possibility for your future job/career. On the other hand, it's an encouragement to keep your mind open about jobs/careers and follow a path that might be winding but that will open doors down the line.

Entonces gracias por llenar el formulario!  Realmente, no podía lograr lo que ya he logrado en esta compañía sin su inspiración, le agradezco mucho.

Para sus estudiantes, diría que en realidad la búsqueda de trabajo es una de las cosas más frustrantes, deprimentes, desconcertantes y agotadoras que van a hacer.  Sin embargo, no deben perder sus sueños o su esperanza porque en realidad, van a encontrar algo que les gustará y esta cosa probablemente les va a dar una perspectiva diferente sobre su carrera.  Yo quería trabajar para el FBI, y todavía me gustaría hacerlo, pero he aprendido que hay muchísimas más oportunidades de crecer en este mundo, y a veces el trabajo de sus sueños no está alcanzable directamente después de graduación.  A pesar de que quiero trabajar en el sector público o para el gobierno, todavía estoy ganando experiencia internacional valorosa que me hace sentir muy sastisfecho.  También diría que experiencia en el sector privado, o sea en negocios, siempre puede traducir a experiencia beneficiosa en cualquier otro sector, pero no siempre funciona al revés.  Es decir que las habilidades que se puede desarrollar en los negocios son útiles para otros sectores también, pero en el gobierno, por ejemplo, aquellas habilidades no se transfieren tanto porque son demasiadas especificadas.  Pensé que estaba "settling," pero en realidad, mi experiencia con esta compañía ha sido una bendición y sé definitivamente que me va a ayudar con mis sueños futuros de trabajar internacionalmente en el sector público.  ¡Entonces, estoy trabajando en la Cadena de Suministro Internacional, principalmente con clientes latinoamericanos y canadienses, y uso mi español y portugués casi diariamente (y también estoy aprendiendo un poquito de francés)!  En fin, diría que nadie debe pensar de su futuro como si fuera una ruta sola, hay muchos caminos que llegan en el mismo destino.  El futuro es bien espantoso cuando no podemos verlo, pero cuando seguimos con una mente abierta, podemos alcanzar nuestras metas y mucho más en maneras que nunca imaginamos antes.

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